PORGING (Hebrew, , lit. "incision"; Judæo-German, "treibern"):

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The cutting away of forbidden fat and veins from kasher meat. The Mosaic law emphatically forbids the eating of the fat and blood of cattle or poultry, the fat and blood of peace-offerings being appropriated as sacrifices to God. The prohibition is "a perpetual statute" in all generations everywhere (Lev. iii. 17, vii. 25-27). What constitutes "ḥeleb"(="forbidden fat") is deduced from the description of the ḥeleb appropriated for sacrifice, namely, the "fat that covereth the inwards" (intestines) and "the fat on the kidneys by the flanks and the caul [lobe] above the liver" (ib. iii. 3, 4). All other fat is regarded by the strict Mosaic law as "shuman" (="permitted fat"), though the Rabbis have made the prohibition more extensive (see Fat). The Mosaically forbidden blood-vessels in animals comprise the main arteries and the nervus ischiadicus ("gid hanasheh"; Gen. xxxii. 32). The Rabbis, however, have extended the prohibition to the principal veins that connect with the arteries and tendons.

To guard against an infringement of the prohibition of eating blood, the kasher meat is salted to extract the blood from the surface of the meat. The salted meat is then placed in a perforated vessel or on a plank in a slanting position to allow the extracted blood to drain off for half an hour, after which the meat is thoroughly cleansed with water; but inasmuch as the salt can not extract the blood from the closed veins, the latter must first be excised or severed by porging.

The responsibility of the porger ("menaḳḳer") is as great as that of the shoḥeṭ. In former times the professional porger was not allowed to be a butcher, as it was apprehended that self-interest might interfere with the proper performance of his duty; but to save the expense of hiring a special porger a butcher who has a reputation for honesty and ability is now permitted to perform the porging.

Preparatory to the porging, twelve ribs of the animal are cut open from the chest downward. The following order of the various operations in porging is arranged according to the opinion of the best authorities:

Successive Operations.
  • (1) Cutting the head of the animal into two parts and removing the eyes therefrom; cleaving the skull and removing from the brain the upper membrane, as well as the lower membrane adhering to the bone; extracting the red veins from the brain;
  • (2) extracting veins from the back of the ears:
  • (3) incising the lower jaws and extracting a vein on each side close to the tongue;
  • (4) cutting away the root of the tongue and extracting a blood-vessel;
  • (5) extracting two veins, one red and one white, on each side of the neck opposite the "sheḥiṭah" incision;
  • (6) cutting around each side of the breast close to the fresh and extracting two veins, one red and one white, running along each side;
  • (7) severing each shoulder with its fore leg from the body; cutting into the shoulder in the center and extracting a thick white vein; cutting the upper part of the fore leg lengthwise and extracting a vein running from the spine to the hoof (to eradicate this vein requires a deep incision);
  • (8) cutting the leg and extracting one red vein at the lower end and another vein on the side near the bone (the porger then turns to the portion from which be extracted the breast-vein);
  • (9) removing the membrane of the kidneys, and the fat underneath them (the heads of the forbidden fatveins then become visible; there are to the right [as the porger faces the front of the carcass, which is suspended with the head up] three veins that split in two, and to the left two veins that split in three: when the body is warm these veins may be extracted easily);
  • (10) separating the membrane from the lobe of the liver;
  • (11) separating and removing the fat from the loins (there are on the end of the thigh near the flank two streaks of fat which are exposed within the animal when it is alive, but which after death are covered by the shrunken flesh; this flesh must be cut open and the fat removed);
  • (12) drawing the intestines from their position and removing the upper entrail: extracting the veins from the ileum () and stripping the fat from the mesentery (); the fat from the stomach, belly, reticulum ), and anus (); also that adhering underneath the diaphragm () and that on the small intestines ; removing the fat of the intestines along one arm's length (24 inches) from the root (the intestines through which the food passes do not contain forbidden blood-veins);
  • (13) separating the membrane and fat from the spleen and extracting the main vein, together with three fat-veins;
  • (14) extracting the veins of the lungs and bursting the bronchi () and removing the appendix ();
  • (15) removing the lobes of the heart because they contain too many blood-vessels for removal; cutting the heart crosswise to extract the blood; removing the membrane and four veins;
  • (16) removing the gall and the fat attached to the liver; cutting the liver to allow the blood to run from it;
  • (17) removing the fat from the flanks with their upper and lower membranes, scraping off the fat underneath, and extracting a vein from each;
  • (18) removing the membrane and extracting the large vein of the testicles, which must be cut apart before salting;
  • (19) removing the lower entrail at the end of the rectum (); taking the fat from the rectum;
  • (20) severing the tail and extracting a vein which divides into two and which is connected with the flanks; cutting away the extra fatty portion of the tall;
  • (21) disjoining the thigh and removing the sex genitals; extracting six veins from the hips and scraping off the fat around them; cutting open the udder and squeezing out the milk (the first vein of the thigh is the nervus ischiadicus, which lies deep near the bone and runs through the whole thigh; the second vein is near the flesh); extracting the sinews in the shape of tubes (), which connect with the nervi ischiadici of the two thighs (see Ḥul. 92b-93b), and scraping off the adjacent fat;
  • (22) making incisions above the hoofs; extracting the cluster of sinews () from the lower middle joint of the hind leg.

Some authorities modify this order and omit several items; for instance, they leave the fat underneath the diaphragm, or, on extracting a red vein, leave the white vein which is alongside it.

The porger generally uses a special knife for the fat and a smaller one for the veins. If he uses the same knife for both he must wipe it, before operating on the veins, with a cloth which is suspended for this purpose from the lower part of the animal.

The principal operations of the porger are performed in the lower extremities of the animal, and in consequence of the scarcity of competent porgers many Jewish communities in Europe have since the seventeenth century not used the lower part or sirloin of the animal, the butcher selling that part to non-Jewish customers. But in the Orient and in several cities in Russia, such as Wilna and Kovno, where non-Jewish consumers of meat are few in comparison with the Jewish population, the sirloin is porged and sold to Jews.

The porging of small cattle is performed with a smaller knife or with the hand. Fowl need no extensive porging, beyond the severing of the head and the extracting of one vein opposite the sheḥiṭah incision, the cutting into the wings and the legs, also the lungs and heart, and the removal of two guts, known as "terefah wurst." and the gall.

See Bediḳah; Blood; Fat; Sheḥiṭah; Ṭerefah.

  • Maimonides, Yad. Ma'akalot Asurot, vi.-viii.:
  • Ṭur and Shulḥan Aruk. Yorch De'ah, §§ 65, 66;
  • Lebush. Aṭeret Zahab, order Niḳḳur, § 65, end:
  • Isaac ha-Kohen, Zibeḥe Kohen, pp. 59-64. Leghorn. 1832;
  • Wiener, Jüdische Speisegesetze, §§ 1, 3, 4, Breslau, 1895;
  • Jacob Sorzena, Seder ha-Niḳḳur, and abridgment of same by ẓebi ben Isaac Jacob, Venice, 1595;
  • Joshua Segre, Niḳrat Issur (see Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 403).
E. C. J. D. E.
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